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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Devotionals / Walking in the Light Welcome Guest

          Random thoughts from someone trying to walk in His light

    Fri, Sep 30th - 7:51PM



    Hey,

    In youth group last night I taught on the Lord's prayer. It was mostly a lesson in how to pray. I wanted the kids to participate so I tried this near the beginning. I encouraged them to pray outloud. then I said, "In a minute we are all going to pray outloud at once. Don't worry, God will be able to sort it all out. Ben, Chad, Sam and I (leaders) are going to start, I promise. So you won't have to worry about being the only one talking. Just tell Him what is on your mind. You don't often hear a prayer start this way, but Ready ... Go!

    This way they were actually standing out if they didn't pray outloud. It worked. The sound of 40 kids talking to God was wonderful. I'm very lucky to be able to do this ministry.



    Comment (3)

    Tue, Sep 27th - 9:34PM



    Hey

    One of the first college groups that we had I passed out two small cards to everyone.                 Roll them up lengthwise and hold them in each hand between your palm and your middle finger. Now pay attention to your breathing. Everytime you take a breath, push the card into your palm a little bit. Try that for a minute or two.

    Now imagine that this card is a nail, and that it is pounded through your hand, buried there against the bones and nerves. (Keep pushing it every time you breath.) This is how you breath on the cross. The way that you hang there means that you have to lift yourself up to let your diaphram flex so that you can breath. Imagine, every breath having to pull on the nails in your hands, or the one in your feet. Some of you have a tiny sore spot in your hand now from the card, just imagine being on the cross for hours. Each breath being agony in your hands and feet. This is how you die on the cross. You suffocate. After a while you can no longer take the pain and you can't pull yourself up. You can't breath. This is why they broke the legs of the men on the cross. So they couldn't push up anymore.  

    This is how much Jesus loves us. He chose to put himself through that for us. In fact, he designed the whole universe to come down to that critical moment. He is the one that created everything to begin with. He designed us with a diaphram that would need to flex. He designed the nerves and bones in the hands and the way that they cry out in agony when they are wounded. He designed the particularly long and sharp thorns that grow in the Holy Land. The ones that would one day be pushed down onto his head.

    It wasn't something that surprised him. It didn't suddenly, unexpectently, go wrong. He wasn't fooled. He knew what was coming when he designed us. He made his death that painful so that it could save us from our sins. And so that we would know how much he loves us. Whenever you doubt that he loves you, just push on your palm for a few minutes. Every time you breath.

     



    Comment (3)

    Mon, Sep 26th - 9:43AM

    The concept of "Don't squish them"



    Hey,

    I taught on Romans 14 last night. Paul says it's all legal. We can dress, eat, celebrate, sing anyway that feels right to us. God goes not care what we wear to church, and neither should we. AS LONG AS we are aware of the effect on those around us. If what I wear to church distracts someone else from coming closer to God. then whatever it is is wrong. Even if it bothered someone that I was wearing my best three piece suit, I would still be wrong for wearing it. At least until I could explain to them honestly that I was wearing it to glorify God and not myself.

    Paul says, how dare we let some small thing get in the way of someone "for whom Christ died". After what Jesus did, we would be fools to let what we want to wear, or sing or whatever, prevent someone from receiving that. Sometiems we have to give up our rights so as not to squish less mature Christians, even if they are wrong in being offended.



    Comment (2)

    Fri, Sep 23rd - 9:48PM



    Hey,

    It looks like I have been out of the loop in some things around here. I recently saw a blog by an outspoken preacher that mentioned versions of the Bible. Let me share a little about a "Kings James Only" experience of mine.

    Taryn and I graduated high school, got married, waited a little while, then had two kids in two years. All very planned out. During that time we, who had been raised going to church, exercised our freedom by not going to church. Once the kids came we responded to our responsibilities and started looking for a church. We ended up trying a tiny, 10 person church, run by a young pastor from Pensacola Florida. He was a revival type preacher, very old-fashioned. In the next six weeks we got set straight on good Christian habits which we had never done before, but continue to this day. Things like tithing, reading the Bible, Bible study etc.

    However as time passed, he started to teach some things that I questioned. He seemed to have quite a list of people that he, well... had trouble loving. Gays, minorities, liberals, Catholics, charismatics. He was passionate about God, but we didn't see a lot of God's love. He answered my questions by giving me books by his mentor,  Dr Peter Ruckman, president of the college that he had attended. I read a few of his books and heard from a few other of the school's graduates. It turned out that our pastor was a toned down version of what he was taught. These guys were full of hate, for practically everyone. At least anyone who didn't agree with everything they said.

    They taught, first and formost, that you must use the King James Bible. Every other version had been translated from a different source, that was corrupt. NIV, NRSV, RSV, CEV; all of the new versions claimed to be from older, closer to the original texts, but they were actually inspired by Satan and had lead people astray. When we prayed to commit ourselves, we didn't commit ourselves to prayer or worship, we committed to reading only the KJV.

    The truth is, I actually prefer the King James version. It was written in 1611. In Shakespearian English, which is a beautiful read. Some verses in other versions just sound wrong. And I think the other translations get some things wrong. But I also think the KJV gets some wrong. I refer to my KJV often, but I use an NIV to teach from because its easiest for people, especially teens, to follow. 

    As for KJV only people, (ours were called Bible Baptists) I only met a few. There may be exceptions, but these were men who remind me most of Pharisees. I think the cause may be the same. Both groups are "keepers of the word" The pharisees were the ones who had the scrolls and the KJVers have the only true version of the Bible. They are very sure that they are right and everyone else is wrong. I saw no sign of humility, love, grace, or the Holy Spirit. They are legalists. Combative and negative.

    We stayed in his chuch, even followed him to another town an hour away for awhile. Eventually, he moved out of state and we found another church. He travels around the country now preaching revivals, mostly down south. We are very grateful to him for having seting us back on the Way. And I wouldn't attend his church again if he met next door. To me, he is a great reminder that God can use anyone for His purposes.



    Comment (7)

    Wed, Sep 21st - 9:09PM



    Hey,

    Here is a little insight that I came across. It was new to me anyway.

    I went to talk to our Pastor today. I passed on to him the conclusions that I had reached on vacation. That I was going to stay out of conflicts and just do the ministries that I had been doing. (See below) I might mention that this, probably obvious, conclusion was a little harder for me to arrive at because I have just finished actually being the one left in charge for the last seven months when our old pastor retired.

    The insight was this: my young but wise pastor said that what pastors really need are some people who are support for them. Not someone to hear his troubles and go fight them, someone who simply hears his troubles and encourages him. For the most part they can handle their church conflicts and any of our attempts fto help fix things often just make the conflict worse. He needs someone to talk to, pray, encourage, laugh, etc, but not a activist..

    Having been just slightly in a pastor role for a little while, I can see how true that is. The job is very hard. There are many passionate, outspoken, and often mislead people to deal with. And it is very rare that people have all the information that applies to a specific situation.

    This observation really backs up my conclusion out of Jude. Pray, grow, minister where you are meant to, and let God (and the pastor) take care of things.



    Comment (3)

    Mon, Sep 19th - 10:23PM



    Hey,

    You should know that I have tried 20 times to upload a photo of myself inot my profile and I can't make it work. Its not that my picture would add any beauty, but it seems like it would be an honest thing to do. Anyway all I even get is "page not found"

    For college group last night I took everyone outside to a clear spot. We live in a very dark and quiet place where you can see every star. Last night we had stars and clouds all lit by a huge full moon. It was a beautiful night. I talked a little bit about the night sky. How it had been there for thousands of years. How it had been looked at by God's children all over the world, night after night. It served to remind millions that there was Someone much bigger than them. And He cared enough to decorate for us. we have done lots of "church lessons" on the cross and God's love, but this was a different exmple of how much He loves us. Millions of stars, some of them actually whole galaxies full of stars that just look like points of light to us. All just to amaze us. They reflect His glory. "The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament showeth His handiwork.

    Then I left them to ponder God's love with the evidence of it shinning down on them. I asked them to ask God what he wants them to do with the fact that they are loved that much.Be comforted, challenged, reassured, encouraged, made joyful, etc.

    It was a very simple lesson but it let God put on a show. And gave them a chance to talk to Him, and listen for an answer. We don't always listen for an answer.



    Comment (3)

    Sun, Sep 18th - 8:05PM

    Jude



    Hey,

    Ok, now I really am home. The last post was from our great friend Phyllisí house, where we stayed. Thanks for the prayers, we do feel renewed.

    Now about Jude.

    Jude starts with an exhortation "Contend for the faith."

    Some people were acting as leaders, teaching bad theology. That is saying that it didnít matter how one acts since we are forgiven anyway. That teaching isnít too common today but bad leadership is common still. Jude calls them "shepherds who feed only themselves" Jude says they are divisive because they reject authority, are abusive, grumblers, faultfinders, boasters and flatterers who, most significantly, "do not have the Spirit". Using vivid imagery, Jude calls them "clouds without rain", "trees without fruit", "wild waves", and "wandering stars". All are images of things that promise good and deliver bad.

    In the middle of the description of these false teachers, Jude includes an often misunderstood passage (verses 8-10). Jude says these men "slander celestial beings" but that even Michael didnít slander the Devil. "Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand." In other words, Jude isnít saying not to dispute with these men, heís saying these men are so bad that they dispute things they donít even understand. This passage does end up implying that disputing should be done selectively, which adds to the Judeís second point.

    The interesting thing is that these descriptions and condemnations are woven in among verses that remind us that God will take care of them. Jude uses several examples of people who were judged for their sins. Jude includes the generation of Israelites who left Egypt, the angels who followed Satan, Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain, Balaam, and Korah. Jude also reminds us that we already know false teachers are part of the "last days". The message is that God will take care of his church.

    The question that we are left with then is: How are we to "contend for the faith?"

    The conclusion is the answer. In verses 20-22 it says to keep the faith and pray in the Spirit. Jude reminds us that we should do nothing without prayer. "In the spirit" to insure that we hear Godís will in how to deal with these false teachers. He uses the word mercy three times to emphasize mercy even to these men. He urges us to "keep ourselves in Godís love", by not falling into sin as these men teach. He is saying that we contend for the faith by staying faithful and letting God take care of the false teachers. We stay faithful by following, and teaching, the truth.

    Jude ends (:24-25) with probably the best doxology in the Bible.

    While on this vacation I was hoping to solve a problem I our church. There are some people in leadership that we are clashing with and I wanted to deal with it better. Jude seemed to speak directly to this. I have decided to avoid disputes as much as possible, pray in the spirit for guidance, and continue to serve God as best I can. In our cases, we have a ministry with teens and college kids and Iím taking this to mean we should stay faithful by continuing to teach the truth.



    Comment (4)

    Fri, Sep 16th - 12:57AM



    Hey,

    Greetings from Woodinville Wahington (on a ancient computer)

    God taught me a little something from Jude (of all places).

    I'll share it when I get home.

    Thanks for your prayers



    Comment (3)

    Thu, Sep 8th - 10:58AM



    Hey,

    This blogsite has been a blessing. I started looking for exactly this a few weeks ago and happened to Google into this place. I even almost joined a "Christian singles" site before I understood its real purpose. It feels like CU is becoming a community. I love the big range of styles and personalities. And some of you are making it very friendly and supportive. Thank you.

    My wife and I are off to Washington state for a very overdue vacation. This has been a very trying year for us and this is our first chance to get away. Some of you are addicted to prayer (God bless you). If you want to add "spiritual renewal for Jon and Taryn" to your list, I wouldnít refuse. I always have trouble asking for prayer because there are so many people hurting so much more than I, but Iím working on that. Anyway weíll be back Sat. 9/17.

    I leave you (temporarily) with a travelerís verse:

    2Ch 16:9 "For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely HisÖ"

    And some lyrics that weíll be listening to:

    Beautiful

    By Shawn McDonald

    As I look into the stars
    Pondering how far away they are
    How You hold them in Your hands
    And still You know this man
    You know my inner most being, oh
    Even better than I know, than I know myself
    What a beautiful God
    What a beautiful God
    And what am I, that I might be called Your child
    What am I, what am I
    That You might know me, my King
    What am I, what am I, what am I
    As I look off into the distance
    Watching the sun roll on by
    Beautiful colors all around me, oh
    Painted all over the sky
    The same hands that created all of this
    They created you and I
    What a beautiful God
    What a beautiful God
    And what am I, that I might be called Your child
    What am I, what am I
    That You might know me, my King
    What am I, what am I
    That You might die, that I might live
    What am I, what am I, what am I, what am I
    What am I



    Comment (3)

    Wed, Sep 7th - 8:33PM



    Hey,

    During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religious had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. "Whatís the rumpus about? He asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianityís unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, "Oh, thatís easy. Itís grace." --( Philip Yancey "What's so Amazing About Grace?)

    Lyrics from a Justin McRoberts song say "There are no heroes. There are no guiltless ones. There are are only fools, who know that they have been rescued," Switchfoot sings, "Painfully uncool. The church of the dropout, the sinners, the loosers, the failures, the fools."

    Many of us hypocrites that I talked about last time suffer from the delusion that we somehow deserve God, or at least that we chose him. Predestination is a painful, difficult topic best boiled down to - He loves us. But we do need to learn to dwell on the fact that we are His only by His grace. There is nothing that we can do to make him love us more, there is nothing we can do to make Him love us less. Although the concept is very deep, there are a number of wonderful conclusions that come from it. You could probably add to this list also.

    • There is no point in pride. We are how he made us. We do what he gifted us to do. We arenít able to do a thing without Him. We do far less that we could do.
    • The only reason then, to do something for God is out of love, and appreciation for His grace.
    • We have no reason to feel better than anyone else. Godís grace led me to follow Him. Could I possibly have resisted Him?
    • There is no excuse not to forgive anyone of anything. He has already forgiven us of much more than that person has ever done.
    • There is no point in judging anyone else. Would you ask murderers to judge someone accused of assault?
    • There is no point in trying to improve our standing with Him. He already loves us more than we could ever imagine. Enough to leave Heaven, wade through the dust and sweat for 33 years, and be tortured to death for us. We donít need to make up for anything. He knew we would fail him sometimes. He loves us anyway.
    • We donít need to try to convince God to love others. I was praying for someone going through a trial once, giving God reasons she was worth helping. I felt Him say, "I know. I made her. I love her more that you ever will." In fact it was His Spirit that prompted me to pray for her in the first place. For my sake.

     



    Comment (1)

    Sun, Sep 4th - 12:14PM



    Hey,

    I got a letter yesterday from one of the kids in our group who had joined the army. I read it before I even got into my house. He really didnít say much and it wasnít very well written, but I put it next to my computer so I could read it again later. My Bible sits on a shelf in the corner.

    The word hypocrite existed before Jesus used it. It referred to Greek actors, who wore masks to play a part. To me hypocrite means saying that you believe something but not really living like you do. Jesus always had loving, welcoming words for sinners, but his "Woes" speech to the Pharisees (Matt.23) rips them to shreds. It makes you very glad that you are not a Pharisee.

    But when I say that I believe that the Bible is Godís word, an inspired living letter to us, and then it serves only to carry to church on Sundays, am I a Pharisee? When I have an open invitation to chat with the Creator or the Universe and choose instead to watch a re-run on television, what does that say?

    The insurance industry makes millions of dollars every year on the fact that we donít trust God. Iím not starting a cult here, or saying we should not be insured but our attitudes say, "Donít worry. If something bad happens the insurance will save us." Here, insurance is seriously starting to limit ministries. They tell us who is forgiven enough to hire, what ministries we dare try. Last month it was even suggested that we could only take kids to camp that had their own insurance!     

    We believe God is in charge, but we only feel safe if we are covered. We know that we are sinners, but we wonít welcome those people in our church because they sinned  We would tell everyone if we won the lottery, but wonít say a word about our salvation. We believe in Heaven, but is there any joy when someone goes Home? If I knew that trials would bring greater passion, would I ask for them?

    God please forgive us for our hypocrisy. Thank you for your great patience in remembering that we are just children.



    Comment (2)

    Fri, Sep 2nd - 9:51AM



    Hey,

    I was thinking about what Leeís doing on her blog. It can be hard to maintain a prayer vigil like that. In my limited experience I had trouble going over a list like that without feeling like I was just saying words to the ceiling. I believe that the ability to "stay real" praying a list like that is part of having the gift of prayer.

    There was once when it really worked for me, though. Our Youth Team was prayer over lists of kidís names. I ended up with a double list because we had too many and most were younger kids than the ones I usually worked with. In other words, it was a long list of people that I didnít know. I tried it and found, to my thrill, that every new name brought with it a clear need to pray about. It was one of my clearest moments of working with the Holy Spirit.

    The other side of things is how it feels to be prayed for.

    I am Chairman of the Board at our church. Usually that doesnít mean a lot, except that you make some reports and stuff. But in January, our pastor retired. Suddenly, I was in charge of everything and heading the pastor search committee. (If you havenít been part of that, take time to thank God now.) There was a lot of extra work and responsibility and some opposition because we were working towards replacing a 70 year old pastor with a 31 year old.

    But it was a great experience in a few ways. One was that it meant that many wonderful people in our congregation started praying for me daily. I felt like I had an extra reserve that I could go to whenever I needed it. Like a supply of Red Bull Energy Drink on tap. I also found that I had instantly something that I had tried to achieve for years, the ability to forgive and not carry a grudge. Through this there were many disappointments, some rumours spread about me and personal attacks and I suddenly found myself able to shrug them off. Definitely not my strength before. Totally a gift from God through prayer. And I needed all of it to do the job, to keep working with those people.

    The other thing was a couple of times when I was very tempted to fall into a particular sin. The temptation ran around in my head and at the point when I might have given in, and have given in before, I felt almost like an arm come around me and stop me. It was as if it was the voice of the people praying for me saying, "No, weíre not going to let you go there now." It was awesome.

    Maybe that will be encouragement for prayer warriors. In my experience, thatís what being prayed for does for you.



    Comment (2)

    Thu, Sep 1st - 12:25PM



    Hey,

    Thanks for the support and prayers.

    I am speaking at Sueís funeral today. Hereís what I want to say. It will help me make it through if I write it out.

    Sue was part of our Young Adult group. We established a long time ago that she was My Favorite (an inside joke) and that if she didnít end up a part of our family any other way, we would "adopt" her.

    God took us through some very helpful lessons this summer. We started a Philip Yancey study about how God doesnít do things the way that we would do them. Jesus was born where we wouldnít expect, lived how we wouldnít expect, died how we wouldnít plan. Even did miracles in a way we wouldnít understand. Two weeks ago we did a study on Saturday, the day between when Jesus died and when He rose again. We looked at how bad the disciples felt that day, sad, angry, full of questions, and realized that God sometimes uses the very hardest times to start great things. Last week we looked at Jesusí resurrection. Itís the best testified to historical fact in history, and it proves that everything Jesus said was true. It means that everything that we are believing here today is true. God is here for us. We have a Comforter. Sue is in Heaven. We will see her again. In the meantime, right now she is being held by her Lord and Savior. And I think hearing Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."



    Comment (2)

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    About Me

    Name: Jon Johnson
    ChristiansUnite ID: parakleter
    Member Since: 2005-07-27
    Location: , California, United States
    Denomination: Christian
    About Me: God seems to always be taking me someplace new. I want to praise and whine about that and share what I have learned along the way.

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